Poetry Thursday/NEWS Wrap-Up

Happy Poetry Thursday!

Instead of a poem, I thought I would show pictures of last night’s New & Emerging Writers Series (NEWS) event (see below). We had our largest crowd yet in attendance, which was surprising for a muggy, beautiful June evening.

This summer, or winter if you’re in Australia or New Zealand, I urge you to attend a literary reading or open mic night. Challenge yourself to do something extraordinary. I did, and I’m a better person for the experience.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. As a poet, I have to open my heart to people and experiences I would normally turn away from. Like a photographer, I am required to be unflinching behind the lens to show the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. This is what we do—the artists’ way. All of us have the opportunity to change the world in some small way by sharing a story that would otherwise not see the light of day. A public reading allows us to celebrate what makes us different while reveling in what brings us together. In art, we celebrate ourselves—flaws and all. Together we celebrate our humanity.

I hear from so many people who have never been to a reading, or never read their work in public. Your community needs you. Find a way to get involved—you’ll be glad you did.

Enjoy the photos!

Susan Weiner, freelance writer & essayist

Emmanuela Maurice, MFA graduate of Lesley University

Heather Hubbard, Boston-area author

Kara Provost, author of the poetry chapbook NESTS

Charles M. Boyer, author of the forthcoming The Mockingbird Puzzle

Cohost Erin Dionne, Sponsor Mike Buglio of The Book Rack, and a tired Poet Mom.


January--this is so inspiring to me. You are absolutely right when you say there is a real need to "open (the) heart to people and experiences (we) would normally turn away from". I think this is true as a poet, as you say, and as a novelist, painter, photographer, banker, lawyer, oh--and especially--politician. I am headed on a summer blogging break after today, so I hope you spend the rest of yours as creatively as this!
January said…
Delia, are you kidding? I look to you and so many others for inspiration!

Enjoy your blogging break. You will be missed.
paris parfait said…
January, a lovely post (and great photo of you). I think life requires that we don't look away - that we must talk about the truth, even when it's painful and raw and the last thing we want to do. We shape our community by our actions or inactions; if we do nothing, we get what we deserve. We must always try to do something, even when no one is listening - as a writer, you make a difference, in your poems and by the way you inspire others.
Tammy said…
Yes! I was inspired by my first poetry reading into entering one of my own to be published. Wonderful message here!
wendy said…
I joined a writers group that starts mid August.

Poetry workshop.


I have long admired your boldness..and want to grow..But if I kept my sunglasses on the whole time, do you think they would notice??
January said…
Wendy, that's great!!! I'm sure your workshop will be a safe place to express and receive feedback.

I hope you come to enjoy workshopping because having a few trusted souls (even one trusted soul) is key to refining your work.
January said…
Tammy, that's a wonderful story. Poetry/literature readings really do add another level of depth to your writing. And I think the literature community is so small that it could use a few more writers and readers.

January said…
Tara, I think your blog does much the same thing. You express an opinion that needs to be heard. And you're right, if we do nothing, then we get what we deserve.

Take our current president, for instance ...
what a wonderful celebration of words, stories and humanity...
jim said…

You and your cohorts are heroes, spreading the good word, celebrating what is worthy between us, and championing companionship and good will. After readings, either as an audience member or as a reader, my world does get bigger, more magical, more generous.

You're my June hero!
Rob Kistner said…
Good suggestion...

I love to read my work. I have a number of recorded 'spoken word' pieces on my blog.

We have many poetry slams and spoken word readings here in Portland, Oregon -- but they all seem to be in bars.

After singing in bars and nightclubs for more than two decades -- I no longer drink, never smoked, so I am not fond of bars.

I wish I could find such events in more health-neutral environments.
January said…
Rob, our readings are held in the basement of a renovated theater. Although you can't tell, at one time the basement used to be a bowling alley.

Which just goes to show that you can find space for readings and gatherings anywhere.

I'll come by your blog and listen to your audio posts.
Clare said…
Great photos -- very inspiring! And I love what you wrote. My favorite lines are "In art, we celebrate ourselves -- flaws and all. Together we celebrate our humanity." This is so cool.
Catherine said…
I'm going to a poetry book launch on Tuesday night, does that count? There aren't too many readings here in winter - of course, you are an inspiration by actually helping to organise events rather than waiting for them to happen.
split ends said…
This really does make me want to find a poetry reading to attend... which shouldn't be that hard, as I do live in a big city. I am traveling a lot this summer, but I'm going to try to make it a priority to get to a poetry reading before September...

Thanks for the inspiration!
I used to go to poetry reads, I stopped. This post inspires me to go again. Thanks!
chiefbiscuit said…
I admire your tireless efforts in the cause of poetry January. I stand amazed. Staggered! :)
After almost a year without, there is a move among the literary members of our community to once again start up poetry readings in Dunedin (long a bastion of the arts.) We must have the most poets-and/or-writers-per-head-of-population of any NZ city. Probably because of the University's close links with the community ... I am grateful I live in such a place.

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